Summary: Nehemiah lead all of the people in working together to rebuild their city.
Most of us have seen or at least heard of the t.v. show. It begins with a house, usually it is small and in need of repair. Inside is a family that has suffered a loss or is going through some kind of a trial. Without their knowing it, hundreds of people suddenly show up and this really loud guy gets on a megaphone and yells good morning. Suddenly this family is whisked away for a dream vacation and while they are gone their entire house is torn down and transformed into a dream home with the best of everything from building materials to appliances. When they come home and they see their house for the first time, amid the screaming and the tears of joy are the testimonies about how their lives are going to be better because of this house.
It’s a great t.v. show, it’s good to see nice things happen for people in need, but then you hear the stories like the family that took in a group of brothers and sisters after their parents died, and the show came out they built them a beautiful house, they gave most of them cars, then after the camera’s left the family kicked the kids out and the kids sued the t.v. show for a new house. In life things are not always what they appear, and if it seems like a fantasy, it probably is.
As we continue to walk through to book of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem we come to an important transition. We began with discussing the need for revival, the need for God to renew us and for us to remember that the only agenda there is room for in this place is His agenda, that worship is putting all of our focus on Him, and if His agenda is first we won’t have time for anything else. Last week we talked about the importance of vision. Vision is the engine that carries us through the trials and into blessings.
Vision is one of the most important things that we can have as individuals and as a body of Christ. The revival in Nehemiah came when a man of God looked through God’s eyes and saw what should be instead of what was. He saw the sins and the problems of the people as his problems, and he saw not just the problems but the opportunity.
Listen it is important to dream, and as followers of Christ it is important to dream God sized dreams. Dreaming is good, but there must come a point when we stop dreaming and put those dreams into action. It was great that Nehemiah saw the problems of the people as his problems, it’s great that he thought the city could be rebuilt, and it’s great that he prayed about it, but if he had only done those things there wouldn’t be a book in the Bible about it and we wouldn’t be talking about him today. It is not enough to dream you must begin to build and you must begin to build according to what the Lord wants rather than what you may want. Psalms 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” We can work toward revival, we can expend great energy on things that we use Christian language to justify the things that we do and the agenda that we won’t let go, but unless we are working to follow God and not just rituals, religion or our comfort zone in the name of God, we labor in vane.
We remember Nehemiah because of what God accomplished through him. Nehemiah became the catalyst that God used to rebuild Jerusalem. I know what your thinking a book about building a city is great if you’re about to launch a building fund, what does that have to do with us? Well remember the Old Testament is historical fact but the lessons in it are also symbolic of our lives. The same spiritual tools that Nehemiah used to rebuild the city are the same tools that we need to rebuild our lives and our church.
Let’s look at our key passage for today Nehemiah 2:11-20, “So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days. Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with Me; I told no one what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem; nor was there any animal with me, except the one on which I rode. And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire. Then I went up in the night by the valley, and viewed the wall; then I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. And the officials did not know where I had God or what I had done; I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, or the others who did the work. Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Com and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach.” And I told them of the hand of my God which had been good upon me, and also of the king’s words that he had spoken to me. So they said, “Let us raise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite official, and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they laughed at us and despised us, and said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing? Will you rebel against the king?” So I answered them, and said to them, “the God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem.”